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Consolation Prizes: IU Basketball, Players Receive Honors
No Final Four, but at least Hoosier Nation has something to celebrate.
Okay, so the Hoosiers didn’t finish their exciting 2012–13 season on the high note IU fans had hoped for. No need to belabor that point.
We can still find some consolation in a string of honors doled out to the IU basketball program in recent days.
This afternoon, after several months of voting by fans and "experts," the NCAA announced that IU's 1976 undefeated national-championship squad was named the top All-Time March Madness Team. (Maybe we weren't the best team this season, but we're still the best ever, thank you very much.)
Despite having finalists in the other categories, IU was shut out elsewhere on the ultimate winners' list—although two Indiana-born legends, Larry Bird and Oscar Robertson, did land among the 15 All-Time March Madness Players.
Current IU players have raked in some individual honors as well. On Thursday, guard Jordan Hulls was selected as the NCAA's Senior CLASS Award winner, reflecting not only his on-court grit and leadership, but also his personal character and work in the classroom and community. (And in a perfect world, wouldn't recognition like that be cheered even more loudly than a purely basketball-based designation? Also, on a personal note, the author of this post would like to point out—proudly—that he, like Hulls, is a graduate of Bloomington High School South, where Hulls led the Panthers to a state title in 2009. So there's that.)
It was also announced on Thursday that Victor Oladipo finished third in Associated Press Player of the Year voting. Additionally, he was named to the AP's All-America first team earlier in the week. Not bad, considering that, coming into the season, most analysts regarded him as little more than a good role player who dunks and gets down on defense.
Now IU fans can get back to worrying about whether or not Oladipo and preseason All-American forward Cody Zeller will announce for the NBA draft.